You Can’t Find Purpose from a Job Alone

Read Time: 7 min.

It’s curious how artists are often able to describe realities with far fewer words than scholars. What takes a scientist or a historian hundreds of pages takes a lyricist or poet just a few lines or stanzas.   It’s also curious how sometimes an outsider’s take better captures the reality of insiders. A little critical distance, a little objectivity, helps&nb...

Seeking Meaningful Holiday Celebrations

Read Time: 4 min.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I remember the childhood magic of unpacking our Christmas decorations every year, the anticipation of eating the candy cane cookies that my dad and I twisted into perfect pink and white hooks, and the joy of finding at least one special present under the tree. For years, I told my parents that someday I would get married at Christmas; eventually I ful...

Compassion for the Holidays

Read Time: 4 min.

It’s been a tense year, to say the least. Political polarization is at an all-time high and people on both sides are angry. Many people don’t just disagree with the other side’s views anymore; they think the other side’s views—and the people who hold them—are abhorrent. It can be hard enough to navigate political differences with strangers and acquaintances. But what are we supposed to do when the...

If you’re not first, you’re last.

Read Time: 4 min.

Before we jump right in, I have a confession to make. Prior to 2016, I paid just about as much attention to football as I did to politics – ahem – almost none. In my mind, both American pastimes were just fuzzy activities that existed in my periphery as I fumbled my way through life as a twentysomething (I’m sure many of you can relate). Whenever I got together with “the guys” to watch...

The Art of Becoming Politically Mature

Read Time: 4 min.

The political landscape has changed. And I’m not just talking about the results of another election. I mean that the attitude and atmosphere surrounding politics in our country has shifted dramatically. Growing up, I dreamed of pursuing a career in politics. It was the age of The West Wing, when being a part of the American government was something prestigious, a great way to serve our country and...

Generosity and Our Tribal Hearts

Read Time: 3 min.

We often think of generosity as being willing to give our money to others. But this is a narrow definition. A wider definition of generous is, “having a kindly spirit.” Through the years, I’ve discovered many ways in which my spirit has not been so “kindly” toward others. But here I want to share three things that have made me a more generous person. And I think that’s a good thing. CONNECTION has...

Community is Generosity

Read Time: 3 min.

I think when we have found community, then we have found generosity. Sharing yourself and your time with those around you is the essence of both of these ideas. I see small generosities every day at my job and in the world. People will give up their seat for someone else on the bus, drop some change into a musician’s case, or offer a hug and a friendly ear. These simple kindnesses are all around u...

When Fall Doesn’t Come

Read Time: 3 min.

I am a California baby raised primarily in the northern Midwest. For most of my life, fall meant a clear change in the seasons. In childhood, fall meant leaving the city for field trips with my Detroit classmates in the orchards of the Michigan countryside, driving through different northern regions to see the colorful changing foliage, and jumping into leaf piles that my dad created in our front ...

Fighting for Justice in a Selfish World

Read Time: 5 min.

It seems as if every time we turn around another scandal is being brought into the light.  With high profile cases such as those indicting Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein for sexual crimes, along with the #metoo and #churchtoo movements, we have seen hundreds come forward to say they were harmed—and that things were covered up when they tried to report it. The question I am asking today is, “If we...

Bingeing, Self-Control, and the “Great Life-Waster”

Read Time: 4 min.

I’d like to take a moment and consider the word binge.  According to Webster’s dictionary, a binge is “an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence.”  Another definition is “an act of excessive or compulsive consumption.”  Of those definitions, I find the word “compulsive” to be the most significant and the most frightening.  The implication is that if I’m binging, I literally cannot stop myself...

Failing Friendships and Learning to be Kind

Read Time: 4 min.

I’ve heard it said that, even more than their lessons, educators teach who they are as people. Students learn about their teachers’ passions, annoyances, available buttons to push, and amount of care they hold for their pupils—perhaps even more than they learn about their coursework. As a teacher, I have seen this happen. As a former student, I’ve learned that the most important person a student c...

45 Lessons I Didn’t Learn in School

Read Time: 4 min.

We have all had levels of “education,” but I’ve found that I consistently learn more from what is not on the syllabus than what is. I discovered more about myself in between the lines of my formal education than I ever did sitting at a desk. A recent poll of my closest friends and relations made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I asked about their top “informal” lessons—here are some of the highlights...

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